How to find out if you're tone deaf

Here is a quick flash test to see if you're tone deaf or not - you listen to a series of musical phrases in pairs, and have to decide if they're different or the same.
It was created by Jake Mandell, who is a true renaissance man. Originally a producer of some repute, he also worked for Native Instruments in Berlin, helping to develop Reaktor and Absynth. Now he's at Medical School, specialising in Neurology. (Full bio here). The Tone Deaf Test is "purposefully made very hard, so excellent musicians rarely score above 80% correct". This is clearly true, because I'm certainly not an excellent musician, and I got 83.3%. How about you? (Thanks, Stefan)


Comments:
I'm really not that good musician, but at least I'm not tone deaf.
80,6% - You beat me Tom.
 
88.9% !
jeez... almost outstanding!
gh ghghghg.....
 
Hmmm. I got 83.3% as well, and I'm not an "excellent" musician. More like "horrendous", or "ghastly".
 
I got 91.7%

it's a pity I can't turn my apparent "Exceptional" ear for tone into even decent performance with my instruments.
 
I got 77,8%. Said by a single word I'm average. That's very nice yet depressing.
 
77.8% too. Average buddiez!
 
88.9 but i used some very good headphones. is that cheating?

on my crappy laptop speakers, i got 77.1.

with my NS10s i got 88.9 again.

i mix with my headphones 99% of the time tho people tell me not too.

not bad for a old bugger :P
 
Ack, only 61... Probally comes from crappy short term memory...
 
88.9% here!

I wonder if I would get a lower score if I had have any kind of musical training...
 
83.3%, putting me into the 76th Percentile. Pretty good, and I'm only an average musician.
 
I got 91.7% and had musical training when I was young. I don't know if that makes any difference in general but do feel it has helped me get my result.
 
nice picture for this arcticle as well.
 
i have to say i think it's as much a test of working memory/internal phonological loop as of any musical discrimination ability.
 
83.3%.. Though I didn't really give it all I got.
 
91.7 - I am obviously a jeenyus.
 
83.3% as well, I am not a musician, if this term only identifies people who *play* music, but I actually *listen* a lot of music...
 
Bose earphones, one try; 86.1. I guess I'm not going deaf.
 
86.1% Maybe I shouldn't have given up music after all.

Then again, they pretty much all sounded different to me: Was anyone else tempted to hit 'same' a bit more towards the end because it all seemed to be going one way?
 
I was listening to jazz surround sound music while doing the test. got 80.6 not bad. Maybe I should turn the surround jazz off and try again.
 
86.1% I'm quite proud of that, given that I've had no formal musical training. . . I used bookshelf speakers, the same ones I mix with (though I sometimes refer to headphones when mixing)

this test reminded me of my old yamaha pss680 (more like p.o.s. 680).. you know, cheezy synth sounds...but I liked it anyway.
 
Bengoldacre, tone deafness refers to discriminating between relative pitch differences, not the acuteness of perception. I can duplicate chord voicings, but I can't remember a melody, so my 75% makes sense.

I don't see how headphones would help at all in this test. An EQ shift might pronounce the melodies, but the length of the segments was the most important component.
 
91.7% Correct - used my macbook (not pro)'s speakers. Interesting test! Pabloman
 
the ability of relative pitch is actually inherent, there is no such thing as tone deaf, unless you just mean being really really bad ...or actually deaf haha. jeez I hate that I was such a nerd and pointed that out.
 
88.9% here. Music lover but not really a trained musician. Did it with my iPod earbuds.
 
oh this is a memory game, i thought it was an interval game. funny i got the same as tom, 83.3%
 
88.9% on crappy laptop speakers.

Not too shabby, me!
 
I got 97.2%.

cool.
 
94.4% - just using the macbook speakers. the thing I found hardest about it was getting tired - it felt like a long test
 
Yes the ADD (which is fake) definitely kicked in by question 25. How sad is that?

I got 77.8%. Jeez, i suck at this game!

...felt like i was playing Simon more than anything else.
 
94.4% - higher than I thought, really.
 
86%

not bad i guess :p

they were so hard with

1. the length of the test
2. the quality of the samples
 
94.4% = 2 wrong. The 2 I got wrong were only answered 65% and 22% of the time correctly, so I don't feel too bad.
 
80.6%. Well, I guess it's good that I'm not average. Or am i..
 
91.7% I got the easy ones wrong 'cause I overthought 'em. Intervals, bitches!
 
91.7%
I definitely was getting bored though towards the end. Also the test may have more to do with memory than tone...?
 
Mine was 91,7% as well. 4 faults, that is. I wonder what the score of a musical genius like Keith Emerson or Prince will be... 200%?

Koen
 
I bombed,I won't tell you how badly, but it's interesting that it's a test of memory, as post chemo I have some slight cognitive damage, and memory is one of the areas affected.

But I'm also a lousy tone deaf singer, so this test could explain a lot :)
 
Hey apprentice - You're among friends here...
 
97.2%

I'm proud :)
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
88,9% While I have short term memory problems (ADD).Made me proud.

Never had any musical theory
 
Woo! 94.4% Correct!!
The last few months of musical frustration have melted away thanks to this test.
I feel whole again, as well as having a new appriciation for Quasi-GM soundsets.
 
wow, I got a 83.3% too.
That makes me feel good!
I have moderate tinnitus and have been feeling like I'm missing out.
I guess not!
 
94.4% too! Really chuffed about that. Now what am I doing as a lawyer instead of musician...
 
73%.. thought i had quite good ears *sniff*.

deifintely felt more like a memory test. i was inclined to say different more often because i wasn't sure if the samples were different or if i could just make out more detail on the second listen.
 
86.1 with my powerbook speakers. I don't know if my formal music training really helped at all there. Maybe. But I'd agree that there's a lot to do with memory here, too. And I've done lots to destroy that ;)
 
I was quite chuffed with 83.3% until I read these comments. should I blame my speakers or last nights skinfull?
 
61.1%, :-(
 
77.8%

Which puts me in the 57th percentile. Well, that's quite a relief. I was worried for a while that I was tone deaf (for some odd reason, changes in timing can seem like changes in tone to me, although that is apparently fairly normal).
 
jeez, 55.6%!

ok, i guess i was a little distracted by having the tv on in the background but even so...

i think maybe i had the wrong idea about this too, i thought the phrases may have been different but musically the same (y'know, inversions and stuff). It was purely whether the two phrases you heard were exactly the same then?

Maybe I'll try again.
 
I did the test very quickly the other day, got about 64%, got very depressed and went home.

Now that I did it again for 2nd time and concentrated bit more I got 75%, and I am my happy self again.

I recommend a second try to all of us not doing so well... .
 
80.6%... not too shabby for cheap phones and no musical training, i think.
 
88.9%

I'd say recent musical training helped, but it did seem like more of a memory thing.
 
94.4% .. :)
 
Tried with my Etymotic's first, scored 89.

Tried a day later with my plain old laptop spkrs, scored 77

There's something about isolating aural input that helps to clarify tone length and pitch.
 
86.1% using komputer speakers...not bad.
 
My good, what a bunch of deaf people we have here at music thing lol...

I consider myself crap as musician and scored 100% lol.
 
a lot of those sounded like fairlight samples, no?
 
a lot of those sounded like fairlight samples, no?

i liked the "buttons"
 
got 94.4% on powerbook speakers in a noisy environment...
 
94.4%
i have about 12 years of musical "training".
nice to know my brain still recognizes melodic / harmonic differences.
 
91.7% Correct

No professional musical training...
 
tone deaf test: 91.7%
pitch perception: 1.425hz
rhythm test: 92%

Good thing I don't play anymore :)
 
85%, tho a little below Excellent in pitch (if you heard my horn, you'd understand ;)

Man oh man, looking at the scores posted in the comments here, I want all of you in my band! What're y'all doin' next Thursday after next?
 
I got 55.6%...
umm.. yeahh...
 
Got 91.7% no musical training whatsoever. Unfortunately my fingers aren't as fast as my ears, therefore I suck at guitar. (Also I gave up after like 1 year xD never practiced)
 
Well i got 83.3 but i can't tune my guitar without a tuner and i can't work out songs so i don't think this means much.

Like a few have said perhaps more to do with memory.

Still glad i did not get 12 per cent or something.
 
i got 0%... which is really the same as 100%, had I gone against my instinct in every question.
Okay, no, I didn't really take the test... I don't really listen to music. Stumbled across this while reading about tone deafness.
 
I got 88.9%, but i can tune my guitar by ear and I've been playing classical guitar for 4 years so i guess that helps a lot.
 
72.2
I'm happy with that.
 
my bands going on the radio and i got a 60% haha. wtf?!?
 
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